If any further proof was required of the extremism and detachment from reality that permeates today’s Republican Party, one need look no further than its allegation that United Nations Ambassador for the United States Susan Rice misled the nation in her comments on talk shows in the immediate aftermath of the attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya.
The attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi cries out for investigation not only on why and how, but on whether the mission should have been closed earlier given the instability and threats our intelligence community knew existed in eastern Libya, or at least better protected. What role, if any, did an inadequate State Department budget for mission security play in the failure to better protect the Consulate in Benghazi? What lessons can we learn from this tragedy?
These are the critical questions that will need to be explored and answered. And there is likely to be plenty of blame to go around. But what is the focus of GOP ire? Why it’s Susan Rice who went out at the behest of the administration on the talk show circuit on the Sunday following the attack and used unclassified talking points provided to her by the US intelligence community to give what we now know was an incomplete and, in at least one important respect, inaccurate account – notably that the assault grew out of a spontaneous demonstration against a viral Internet video mocking the Prophet Mohammad.
Rice made nothing up. She simply repeated what she had been given to say at a time when much was still unknown and unclear. Even now no definitive determination has been made on whether the attack was planned in advance or simply opportunistic. And there are other aspects of the attack that remain under investigation. Focusing on Rice and her talking points misses the point by a wide margin, so why persist?
Prior to the election, the GOP’s obnoxious senate duo of John McCain and Lindsay Graham tried, along with the Romney camp, to make this out to be a huge foreign policy disaster for the administration in the hopes of hurting President Obama’s electoral prospects. It didn’t work but McCain & Graham continue to gnaw at the bone like a pair of demented pit bulls.
And this segment from The Daily Show exposes them as blooming hypocrites too!
One can speculate that their hope now is to compel Obama to forget Rice as his choice for Secretary of State and choose Senator John Kerry instead. This would open up Kerry’s senate seat to a challenge from Scott Brown who lost his seat to Elizabeth Warren in November.
And they have evidently recruited what passes for the moderate-wing of the GOP when Senator Susan Collins, in what smacks of a stage-managed event, announced herself dissatisfied with the answers she heard from Rice during a private meeting. It’s hard to imagine what Collins heard that she hadn’t heard already. But then I suspect that wasn’t the point; it was what Senate Minority Leader McConnell and McCain/Graham had already said to her that counted.